Hey guys, today I’m going to go over the Gallade/Octillery deck that surprised friend and foe at Mexico City Regionals.
So far the Guardians Rising format has shown again and again that intricate combos are back and here to stay in the Pokémon TCG, and this is just another example.
Here’s the list that made Top 16:
4 Ralts AOR 52
2 Kirlia AOR 53
4 Gallade BKT
2 Tapu Koko PR-SM
2 Tapu Lele-GX
2 Remoraid BKT 32
2 Octillery BKT
TSS – 38
1 Hex Maniac
1 Professor Kukui
1 Rescue Stretcher
3 Choice Band
4 Level Ball
2 Special Charge
4 Ultra Ball
4 Rare Candy
2 Float Stone
4 VS Seeker
1 Field Blower
4 Double Colorless Energy
It’s been a while since Gallade and Octillery were in the spotlight, so let’s briefly recap how these cards work again.
Gallade is a Stage 2 Fighting Pokémon with 150 HP. It used to be played with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, since that was (sadly) the most reliable way to get it into play considering how fast the format was. Now that things have slowed down and there’s better support, we can afford to set it up the traditional way through Ralts, Kirlia and Rare Candy. Sensitive Blade does 130 damage if you’ve played a supporter this turn for a single Double Colorless. 130 is enough for a 2HKO on most EXes and GXes, so as long as you can stream Gallade you are trading at least evenly with just about any deck.
But thanks to Gallade’s Fighting type, you have a big advantage over popular Pokémon with Fighting weakness such as Drampa-GX, Darkrai-EX and the occasional Tapu Koko-GX. If anyone dares to play down a Shaymin-EX, you can Lysandre those for a KO as well.
Premonition is also a nice ability, letting you predict your next topdeck(s). Back when Gallade was paired with Yveltal and friends, it was mostly used to see what you’d get out of a Trainer’s Mail, but in this deck you can actually draw some of these cards with Octillery’s Abyssal Hand. What this basically means is that you get to stack your deck and then draw extra cards: it’s like cheating, but without all the bad things that come with it!
Both Gallade and Octillery have been legal for a while now, but what really puts this deck on the map is the combination of Tapu Lele and Brigette. It’s way too hard to establish a board with multiple Ralts and Remoraid early on, even with the high count of 4 Level Ball and 4 Ultra Ball. But with Brigette, a staple in any Stage 2 deck, you can get out 2 Ralts and a Remoraid at the very least. Often enough you’ll start with one of these two Pokémon, so at the end of your turn it’s easy enough to get 2 of each into play. The turn 1 Brigette is so important that you’ll want to play two copies, if only to protect against your only one being prized.
Another really good card to search out early is Tapu Koko. Without Tapu Koko, I don’t think this deck would be half as good, as you’d fall behind on prizes against most decks only to trade about evenly when you are set up. But with Flying Flip you can spread 20 damage onto everything, hopefully for a turn or two, so that you can more easily finish them off with Sensitive Blade afterwards.
Once you’ve got your basics into play, it’s time to find as many evolutions as you can. Establishing your first pair of Gallade and Octillery is key, as combined they will let you access more cards to get more evolutions into play. One of the easiest ways to get a Gallade into play quickly is to get out an Octillery, then play Mallow to put the necessary Rare Candy/Gallade pieces on top of your deck so you can get them with Abyssal Hand. Thanks to this combination, you don’t have to rely on drawing into them with a risky Supporter like Professor Sycamore. Mallow is basically a super Premonition that can be used throughout the game to get whatever you need.
Thanks to Premonition and Abyssal Hand, once you’re all set up you won’t need to play a draw supporter like N as often as you would with other decks, so you’ll have more time to play other supporters. Hex Maniac is very effective against other ability reliant decks such as the Vikavolt and Metagross decks, Professor Kukui combined with Choice Band puts your damage output at a much more impressive 180, Teammates is another easy way to get Rare Candy/Gallade or that Double Colorless you need, and Karen doubles as recovery and a deterrent to Vespiquen decks. Of course, N is still available to you to disrupt your opponent, while it will rarely hurt you since you’ll often have one if not two Abyssal Hands at your disposal.
You do need to make sure to play one of these supporters every turn you want to attack with Gallade, or else you’re doing a pretty pitiful 60 base damage.
Since the deck is only playing 4 Double Colorless as its energy count, we need to make sure we have enough of them throughout, so we’re running 2 Special Charge. It might seem low if you’ve never seen it before, but decks like Gyarados and Night March have proven in the past that it can work. Teammates and Mallow make it much easier to find them when you need them than the low count might suggest.
My main recommendation if you want to pick this deck up is practice. I’ve found this is one of the hardest decks to play correctly, and even harder to do it quickly. Your games will (or should) take a while, since you are often not OHKOing your opponents and forcing them to take at least 5 KOs. Sometimes your Gallade won’t even get KO’d in one hit, since it has a beefy 150 HP and Choice Band doesn’t work against it. And not only do the games take more turns than usual, but your turns will also be longer than average, since you have many decisions to make with Premonition. With 2 Octillery in play, it’s almost like you are seeing 3 new hands every turn, and each hand has to be played adequately.
So be prepared to have a lot of unfinished games in the short 50 minute time limit we have, unless you’ve tried the deck out beforehand. But if you know what to do and you get a decent start, this deck has one of the best mid- and late games. Very rarely will you have to hope to get something: instead you’re very much dependent on your own decisions. Early game can be rough though, since Ralts and Remoraid are frail and will give up a couple of early prizes.
I don’t expect too many people to pick this deck up for American Internationals since it’s pretty tough to play and very daunting for a long day, but like the other seven million currently viable decks, it’s important to be familiar with it if you hope to do well.